April, 2020 - I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!

Monday, July 27, 2015

An Interview with Ishbelle Bee, author of The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl

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Today, I have the honour of interviewing Ishbelle Bee, the author of The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath, and the follow up to that fantastic book, The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl, which is being released on August 7, 2015, from Angry Robot Books. The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath is one of my favorite books of the year, and The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl follows right behind.

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Ishbelle Bee writes horror and loves fairy-tales, the Victorian period (especially top hats!) and cake tents at village fêtes (she believes serial killers usually opt for the Victoria Sponge).

She currently lives in Edinburgh. She doesn’t own a rescue cat, but if she did his name would be Mr Pickles.

First off, thank you for joining us today, and thank you for writing such a beautiful book in The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath! I would love to know what your inspiration was in creating this fantastical story and cast of characters.

Hello there!
I wanted to create my own strange Victorian London filled with quirky and magical characters. I was interested in exploring a story of a little girl possessed with something otherworldly and which would involve Victorian Spiritualism and the frauds associated with it. I was also quite intrigued by the unsolved murders of Jack the Ripper and wanted to somehow include him into the plot.

I'm always curious about the writing habits of authors. What is the typical writing day of Ishbelle Bee like? Do you outline, or just see where the characters and story take you?

Before writing a book I have a strong idea in my head of the main themes and I usually have a sketchy outline for the plot. I prefer just to dive right in rather than spend days world building and outlining a storyline. A typical writing day for me usually starts quite early, about 7 am and ends about 2pm. I find I write best in the mornings. I like to just get stuck into the story and let it evolve as naturally as possible. I let the characters take me where they want to go (usually into very strange scenarios). In the afternoons I like to read and research subject matters linked to my book (for example Death rites or Victorian costumes) and in the evenings I read for fun. I usually take eight weeks to get a first draft complete of a novel. Then I read through it and start the first of the redrafts before sending it onto my agent for her opinion.

How are your favorite authors? Favorite books? Which authors inspire you the most? What are you reading at present?

A few of my favourite authors are Angela Carter, Lewes Carroll and Terry Pratchett.
A few of my favourite books are THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco
THE MAGIC TOYSHOP by Angela Cater and CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell.

I recently finished reading UNDER THE SKIN by Michel Faber and I am currently reading THE HAWLEY BOOK OF THE DEAD by Chrysler Szarlan

I am inspired by folklore, mythology and fairytales and I am especially interested in the Aztec and Egyptians

Because I'm wildly curious, favorite Doctor?

Tom Baker because of the mad googly eyes and scarfs.

When did you decide to be a writer?

Always but I lacked the confidence to try for an agent until a few years ago.

What would you say is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest? Any advice for new writers?

For me one of the hardest things about writing is to remain focused and complete a book without being side-tracked onto another project. The easiest thing is the characters which is my favourite part and I love writing really quirky individuals with a unique perspective on the world.

I am not good at giving advice but I think for any new writer trying to get an agent, just to keep writing, work really hard and try not to feel pulverised by rejections.

Any thoughts on the state of the fantasy genre at present?

That’s a really hard question. I would like to see more comedy in fantasy (but that’s just me).

We know that The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl is just over the horizon, but will we be seeing any more of Mr Loveheart and Co? I'm hoping so!

I have written four books for the Loveheart series(and will be writing a fifth). Mr Loveheart also features in a Christmas special book set in London. It’s a bit like a Christmas Carol meets Carry on Screaming (for anyone who doesn’t know that latter - it’s a crazy quirky British cult horror-comedy film.) (I can't wait!)

Any parting words for our readers?

I think I will quote the mad explorer Rufus Hazard from the book due out in August - “Unspeakable bad manners leaving a man with his head in a bowl of trifle.”

Thank you so much for the lovely interview.

A huge thank you to Ishbelle Bee for taking time out of her schedule to stop by and visit us today. Be sure to check out both The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath and The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl, and I know I'll be anxiously awaiting to read more adventures of Mr Loveheart and Co!

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The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Lovehart, Esq., Volume I
by Ishbelle Bee

Schuler BooksBarnes & NobleAmazon

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The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Lovehart, Esq., Volume II

by Ishbelle Bee

Schuler BooksBarnes & NobleAmazon

To purchase any of the books in this post and help me buy more books, click the links above!

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